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What Are the Benefits of Hamstring Flexibility?

by
author image Leigh Good
Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.
What Are the Benefits of Hamstring Flexibility?
Keep your hamstrings flexible to support your lower back and prevent injury. Photo Credit runners stretch image by LadyInBlack from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Flexible hamstring muscles can benefit the overall health of your body. By strengthening and stretching your hamstring muscles as part of your everyday fitness routine, you can achieve strong, limber thighs that will support the rest of your muscle groups, preventing injuries and improving your physical abilities. Three large hamstring muscles run down the back of each of your thighs. These muscles are prone to injury if you do not work to keep them loose and strong, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Prevents Lower Back Pain

If you have tight hamstring muscles, you could wind up suffering from lower back pain, according to the Spine-Health website. Peter Ullrich, an orthopedic surgeon in Wisconsin, states that tight hamstrings reduce the mobility of your pelvis, which in turn increases strain and pressure on your lower back. Ullrich recommends strengthening and stretching your hamstrings to reduce lower back pain. Your hamstring muscles will better support your back and pelvis while you move if the muscles are strong and flexible.

Keep your hamstring muscles loose and relieve lower back pain by performing stretches such as toe touches, a common hamstring stretch in which you bend forward and reach your fingers toward your toes while keeping your legs straight.

Reduces Injuries

Prevent sports- and exercise-related injuries by stretching your hamstring muscles so they remain flexible. FamilyDoctor.org suggests adding hamstring stretches to your exercise routine to keep your thigh muscles limber. Strong and flexible hamstring muscles can support your body during exercise and help prevent injury, especially during running.

To stretch your hamstrings before running, sit on the floor with your right leg outstretched and your left leg bent to 90 degrees so your left heel rests against the inside of your right leg. Keep your back straight and slowly lower your chest toward your right knee. Hold the position for 15 seconds and repeat six to eight times before performing the stretch on your left leg.

Improves Athletic Ability

Having flexible hamstring muscles can improve your performance in various sports, especially tennis. The "Yoga Journal" website states that time you spend standing on a tennis court with your knees bent can contribute to tight hamstrings. You can improve the flexibility of your hamstring muscles to help your tennis game by practicing the yoga pose called downward facing dog.

To achieve this pose, place your hands and your feet flat on the floor with your hips raised so your body forms an inverted V shape. Hold the position for as long as two minutes to achieve maximum benefits.

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